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Published on Aug 9, 2013
This animation shows the projected increase in potential evaporation through the year 2100, relative to 1980, based on the combined results of multiple climate models. The maximum increase across North America is about 1 mm/day by 2100. This concept, potential evaporation, is a measure of drying potential or "fire weather." An average increase of 1 mm/day over the whole year is a big change, one we can put in specific terms: We consider a 1 mm/day increase in PE to be an "Extreme" event for fires, something like 2012 in Colorado. By these projections, fire years like 2012 would be the new normal in regions like the western US by the end of the 21st century.